Wednesday, 29 December 2010

LFG just when you thought it was safe to go back into the water!

With Christmas and work I haven't posted a lot, also I have been playing WOW rather than writing about it recently.
But overall things are going well I have made my way to 85 while reading all the quest text (loved Mount Hijal lore it was awesome and very druidic). I have also managed to get both my primary professions to 525 as well so things are going well for commencement of raiding in January with the guild.
I have not been getting on with DPS really as a boomkin as for some reason even with following rotations and add ons I still cant seem to push out the numbers I would like. So I healed a few heroics and found it fun still, after a bit of readjustment to the new way of healing (damn you Blizz did you have to nerf Rejuve that much!) I found myself doing quite well with my guild groups and have decided that I will probably be healing in raids rather than dpsing for main spec. I had a chat with the raid leader about it and it looks like it could be ok going forward.

All the above leads me to the main point of the post (yep yep ramble, ramble) as I needed some Earthen Ring rep to get some legs and a back I decided (as no one was about) to heal a normal pug group with the dungeon finder. Now bear in mind at this point I have healed a lot of heroics including Stonecore, SFK and Deadmines with minimal wipes. All I can say is I pity any poor deluded fool who uses the Dungeon Finder for Heroics.

We zoned in and it was Grim Batol I had not done this instance before but I was pretty confident on normal that I could adjust to boss tactics on the fly and I had a brief read of the abilities beforehand. Before I had even fully zoned in the druid tanks was off! In fact so far off he was out of range with a charge straight into the first group, I legged it to get in range as his health started dipping and quickly lobbed some big heals in as fast as I could. The party stayed up but I was at 50% mana and before I could take a drink he was off again! Damage was flying about all over the shop and the tank was dipping like hell despite me having 3x lifebloom on him and spamming healing touch coupled with the odd swiftmend.
This fun continued part the way to the first boss with me sweating buckets and CC just not happening. Finally he did a pull on one of the bridges and did not gather up all the mobs. I pulled healing aggro and despite fade went splat. The tank then quit without a word and we joined the queue for another one. The next tank was a bit better and at least waited for everyone to drink/ eat between pulls, though still insisted on pulling everything. After a few deaths and me drinking like a mad man when ever I could we finished the dungeon.

This has made up my mind on one thing now I am NEVER using Dungeon Finder for heroics. I don't think I could take the stress or the repair bills if people act like they did in the normal.

Also to the druid tank, I didn't catch your name as you went off so fast I was mainly watching grid. I hope to hell you never inflict yourself on a heroic group as you would be wasting their time and your as you obviously dont have a clue what you are doing. This isn't Wrath, Healers use mana now and you take a lot of damage when you pull lots of mobs as you gear is not great yet. Also if you pull a lot of mobs at least get aggro on them all so they don't kill your healer otherwise he dies then you die then the group dies. Tanking 101 bloody read it in fact here is a link to a great site for some advice that you probably wont read or take but hey its worth a shot.


Sunday, 12 December 2010

Damn you Blizz show me the leather!

I am having great fun in Cata leveling, Harrison Jones in Uldum is just awesome and very very well put together.
One thing that does bug me a bit though is the total lack of decent caster druid leathers you get from big quest rewards or dungeons. In the past this wasn't an issue as you could just collect whatever cloth bits came along and round out with leather when you found it.
But with the Leather Specialisation skill if you pick up cloth and do not go all leather you take a fairly hefty hit on intellect to do it. While leveling it isn't so much of an issue but I can see this being a bit of a pain when I am gearing up to raid in Heroics.


Sunday, 5 December 2010

Leveling Too Fast?

From my last post you know I have rolled a baby gnome lock and am slowly questing my way through to (eventually) level 85. I have no desire to really raid on this toon he is mainly a vehicle to experience the new worlds quests and to try something different.
However you just seem to zoom through levels and out level zones too fast now. For example I am now leveling in the Loch Mordan area which has seen a lot of changes due to the Stonewrought Dam being nuked by Deathwing. Some of the quests here are now awesome and have taken it from what I remember being a disjointed leveling experience (with trips to places like Westfall being needed to bolster experience) to a smooth and exiting area with lots of quests being seamlessly woven together.

The problem is with enhanced experience gain you now just blitz through the area and if I had moved on to Wetlands when I was supposed to I would have missed 50% of the quests in the area (including a great one with Bingles the Gnome). This is with me deliberately taking off my heirloom gear that provides experience boost to a least try and put a brake on my leveling. There is I suppose the option to pay to freeze my level for a bit as I do zones but this is a bit of a pain to switch it on and off all the time.

I know the reason experience gain was enhanced was to allow people to get to top level in a reasonable amount of time especially considering the big level climb required. But I do think that for the sake of expediency the experience of leveling and all the stories that have been crafted to go along with it are getting missed in the stampede to level 85.
For new players to the game it does seem a bit of a shame that they will miss a lot of the effort that has been put in to making questing more in depth and quests more than "kill 5 bears" type.

Has anyone else who has started a new alt found this?


Sunday, 28 November 2010

Having a Homer Moment or D'oh

Well the shattering has hit Azeroth and zone have been nuked badly so like I most of the blogging community I rolled an alt and set forth to experience the new quest content.
Podling the Gnome Warlock was born (cliched I know)
I had fun in the gnome starting zone which is sooo much better than the old zone and is nicely worked in with the retaking of Gnomer.
While questing though I suddenly remembered it was the last day of the Thanksgiving event and a brilliant chance to level my cooking rapidly on my little Gnome rather than doing it the hard way. So I pottered between Ironforge and Stormwind merrily cooking the festival fair until it came time to head to Darnassus for potatoes.
(Now at this point remember I have not leveled an alt from new for over three years and spent all of Wrath doing high level stuff like raiding)

So I thought "Darnassus eh have to run it". Off little Podling set full of hope, after all his guide had done this before on a hunter and a druid at similar level back in BC days.
Boy things have changed a bit!

I got to Kalimdor ok via the usual route of the Wetlands and then onto Dustwallow Marsh which was a bit nastier than I remembered, however Jaina and all the crew at Theramore helped a bit by putting a bloody great road through the middle of the marsh. I had a few crocodile related deaths but made it through eventually and thought the worst was behind me.
Then I hit southern barrens and the wheels came off badly. Creature levels appear to have changed a bit so my aggro radius was huge, also blizz appear to have increased mob speed a lot so you cant out run them. I got eaten quite a bit.
But still I persevered and made it to the great rift. However the Alliance and Horde are now going at it big style in this area and this proved to be too much. There are really high level Horde (well compared to my level 5 Gnome) like fleas on a dog and I could go no further. Tail between legs I ported back to Ironforge and decided I would have to get a portal if one of the Guild Mages was on as I could not think of any other way to reach Darnassus.
I relayed my tale of woe on Guild Chat (bearing in mind I had been mucking about at this for 2 hours) and wondered if one of the Mages would be on in time when our DK tank Nightmare piped up with "lol mate why don't you just take a boat from Stormwind". "Boat from Stormwind when did that make it in the game?" I asked. "Only about two years mate" was the response.

As Homer would say D'oh!


Wednesday, 17 November 2010

Saying goodbye to The Lich King

So its the end of the expansion and raiding has finished in the Kingdom Of Rust, we are all on a nice break until Cataclysm where the prospect of fighting for spawns awaits until raiding gets into full swing again.

I am looking forward to the expansion a lot but from a lore point of view I think I will be sorry to say goodbye to Arthas and his undead minions. I don't know why but I have always been fascinated and horrified by the whole Zombie/ getting taken over as undead thing.
I remember watching the Dawn of the Dead remake round a friends a couple of years ago and being quite disturbed by the whole zombie infestation thing. Especially at the start when the main protagonists daughter is infected and then kills her husband who also rises as one of the undead. I think its probably the whole idea of losing yourself so to speak but still being there that I find disturbing.
Personally I think I prefer the approach taken by Lt Gorman in Aliens (don't know if you have seen this) when he and Vasquez are cornered and about to be turned into basically lunch or alien breeders. He pulls out a grenade and takes a load of them with him rather than being torn to bits or eeeew impregnated. I think if I was in the same situation I would prefer to go out with a bang!

Anyway rambling a bit, but this is what I think makes Arthas and the Scourge such a great enemy, not only are people you are fighting beside killed by them but your friends suddenly get up and start trying to kill you! Take this section from the story of Kel'Thuzad's fall to the dark side

damn disturbing or what.

From my point of view especially playing someone tied to the natural world like a druid it felt that you were really fighting for all you held dear as the alternative wasn't just death it was worse.

For cataclysm I don't think Deathwing has the same impact for me as an enemy. Yep hes a dragon and a damn big one at that but really he doesn't seem to have quote the air of evil about him as the scourge. Sure he can incinerate you and blast towns etc but the scourge not only killed you and obliterated your town but you got up the next day and munched down on the survivors. Also from reading the linked extract you probably were horribly aware of it.

So roll on Cataclysm but I don't think I will be as afraid of Deathwing as I was of Arthas and his Scourge horde.


Sunday, 31 October 2010

Why I still dont join PUG raids on the Peak

One thing I am looking forward to in Cataclysm is the hopeful end of the gearscore, achievement crap that you appear to need now to even get a mage teleport to Dustwallow Marsh (well at least for a while until the purveyors of said crap can find someone to carry them through content so they can get said achievements/ gearscore).

Here is another classic example of the GS/Achievement Mentality on the Peak at the moment. I was wandering through Dalaran sorting out my UI in my admittedly patchwork Boomkin gear that still needs a bit of work when I got the below whisper.

Now as I said I was sorting out my UI so it was a mess and I generally only raid with the guild so I sent a cheery "no thanks" and went on my way only to get the following DND message.

Yep Mr come DPS in ICC needs my inside leg measurement before talking to him? Obviously this paragon of playing expertise must be ICC at least 12/12 on heroic 10 man and wants a fast run, so is weeding out people who haven't seen the fights? Nope after checking the armoury he hasn't even done Blood Queen or Professor on 10 man or for some reason done Storming the Citadel on 25 man.

It makes you want to cry sometimes it really does.


Tuesday, 26 October 2010

The gangs getting back together

Well after a quiet few weeks it appears people are coming back out of the woodwork for the ramp up for Cataclysm. At the moment our Cataclysm raiding roster includes 15 players for our 10 man team including the return of some old friends from our old guild. The most exiting thing is the amount of people we have who are prepared to do healer and tank roles so we should have a bit of varied rotation going on for raids rather than just the DPS being subbed our or raids being binned because one of our healers cant make a raid.

On the highlight front recently we finally managed to get all the raiders their 10 man ICC drakes including our returning friend Tess from who pitched in with her Shammy to show us how the healing was done :).
Also we ran one of our casual members through Lich King 10 man to get the title and see what all the fuss was about. This looked like it was going to fail as one of our raider had to drop for an emergency. So we decided to 9 man it and at the end of it despite a tank dieing (get in there battle rez and damn your new cooldown!) we added another member to the Kingslayer club.


Despite my future Boomkin plans I healed both runs due to gearing issues for the people who are planning to change roles in Cataclysm (obviously as one of the two raiding druids in the guild I have a set of about everything from ICC so don't have this issue and it would only have gone to waste otherwise).

Overall I found druid healing hasn't changed much at the moment from pre the patch. The hots are shorter so you tend to use direct healing spells more and Nourish is a bit pointless at the moment (I suspect it will be more useful during Cata). Other than that and the fact tranquility is a lot more useful now it was the same old same old for me and I fell back into healing with little issue. I think this is probably because doing 10 mans with a Shammy and Disco priest as my healing buddies I tended to use every spell in arsenal as my role varied a lot during ICC fights (especially if we lost a healer part way through the fight).
I know I will probably annoy a few other tree bloggers over this but new tree of life cooldown is AWESOME and really powerful. For example on the phase changes on Professor Putricide Heroic when damage is flying about all over the place being able to hit loads of people with wild growth and bomb heal on the move with regrowth really helped. Also with the cooldown at 3 mins I was able to use it for both phase changes. I can see this being really useful for spike damage phases in fight in cataclysm.

Overall though I think this is probably the end of ICC serious raiding now and going forward it will be more fun runs to gear alts/ try out new roles. Bring on Cataclysm!


Saturday, 16 October 2010


Well what a week of changes 4.0 hit and after about 2 hours of downloads, extra patches,add ons not working and my video driver deciding they were too old to display the new water I finally got on line.

The guild decided that rather than raiding on Wednesday (which seemed a bit pointless with half the guild not being able to get on till 10pm) we would hold a guild meeting to discuss who is doing what in Cataclysm. A few people as I mentioned previously have definitely decided to switch roles already and it was a good time to see if we had all the spots filled for a raid team.

Well after a bit of discussion we got most people sorted out for the roles they wanted to do.

Which left me and my resto shammy mate as people who could go any way. I was happy to fill any role but one thing I didn't want to do was be a tank/ healer again as I found that trying to keep up with both roles in terms of addons and gear was too much hard work. So after we had filled the tanks spots and the healer spots I find myself in the unlikely role of Boomer Main spec with a healing offspec.

This should be an interesting challenge as I have never played DPS in my whole WOW playing experience. I have always been a healer or a tank so I am looking forward to the challenge of chasing big numbers for a change rather than playing whack a mole with grid (disclaimer I am still healing offspec so we can cover real life issues in our raid, I am not abandoning the trees completely).

After setting myself up with a few addons to help me out such as power auras and some dot timers I realise that I still have a lot to learn about Moonkin DPS so if anyone can give me some pointers it would be much appreciated.


Sunday, 10 October 2010

Were you a better raider in BC

So Wednesday was another busted raid due to a few people being off. On the plus side I got to finally finish Glory of the Hero (yep I could never be bothered before) and basically shoot the shit for a couple of hours on vent.
Eventually the topic got round to raiding back in BC with our old guild and the people we used to raid with (it kind of felt like when you try and recall the people you have worked with over the years). Our pally Faster then threw into the conversation the comment "do you think you were a better raider in BC" now this really made me stop and think for a sec was I a better raider in BC?

I think for me the answer was a definite yes. Despite the fact that I have achieved much more during Wrath such as finishing all bosses, doing several glories of the raider and getting many kills withing a respectable timescale I don't think I am as sharp as when I was raiding in BC.
Its difficult for me to exactly say why but I am going to have a go.

Possibly the bosses just felt harder, even in Kara I can recall us wiping for three weeks solid on Shade ( in fact I think there was some tears over vent when we got the bugger down) before moving on and prince could still wipe a raid several times even when Kara was on farm.

I knew more about classes and buffs during BC due to being a raid leader. Also buffs were generally not raid wide so you spent ages planning where to put your shammys or your survival hunters for best effect on the five people they could affect.

Trash needed tactics we recalled (during our chat) the night we killed Gruul for the first time and on a high went to Tempest Keep, the trash in the first corridor kicked our ass for two hours as we didn't know their abilities!

Gear inflation didn't seems so severe I can recall on my druid finishing BC with a tier 4 chest I had got from Gruul despite having a crack at and downing a couple of bosses in Mount Hyjal pre 30% nerf.

Finally heroics dungeons kept me sharper Shadow Labs was still to be feared even packing some T6 gear, Shattered Halls were a risky proposition with a warrior tank (I still have memories of one of our warrior tanks failing to keep an add off me in there and watching my tree get lumberjacked ,then the long run back as I only had battle Rez) and I only did Acatraz on heroic once successfully during the whole expansion.

Don't get me wrong this isn't a whine post as I have enjoyed Wrath immensely and thank Blizzard for the chance to see all the end game which if raiding had been structured as it was in BC I probably would not have seen.
However as with the fact as an adult I can buy any sweets I want at any time it does seem to make those sweets taste a little less special than when as a child I had to wait/ do some chore for them.


Tuesday, 28 September 2010

All Change?

Well patch 4.0 is just round the corner and with it loads of changes to Talents, stats etc etc. In the guild everyone is starting to thing thing what they will play in Cataclysm.

Being a 10 man guild now the real working out starts on how many tanks, dps and healers we are going to end up with and if we need to recruit to fill the roster on certain roles. Blizz had made this a bit easier with the proposed homogenisation of healer talents so for example not having a pally or druid will not be as crippling hopefully as it once was.

However for us the changes have already started our raid leader (who is one of the tanks) has already said that he wanted to take his pally holy for the expansion with all the spiffy spells pallys are getting to move them away from the 2 they currently rely on a lot. Also it looks like we will lose a couple of DPS to globe trotting adventures and maybe a healer dropping from the raiding scene for a bit.

Now for me this could be an interesting opportunity for Cataclysm. One thing I have decided is I am not going to switch mains I have invested too much time on my druid (and though I am ashamed to admit it I am a bit of an achievement lover at heart).

But as far as his role goes the call of tanking is tempting, I did start out BC on my pally as a tank but got sidelined into healing during Kara and found that I enjoyed it so stuck with it. One thing that I do have some reservations on though is if I can hack it as a tank. Our tanks during Wrath were impressive they steered fights got us past Mimeron (when he was nasty) etc etc. They seemed to have a great awareness of fights and tactics. I just wonder if I can match up to it going forward. I think it will be an interesting change of pace though and a real change from healing so if things pan out the way they are looking to it may be a view from the bear going forward rather than the tree.

One thing I have definitely decided though is that I am either as healer or tank going to take DPS as my offspec. Running healer and tank is too confusing for my brain, at least the dps specs of druid have some synergy with their respective healing/ tanking specs. I find the jump from healer to tank is a real jolt for me and I have to totally change my way of thinking about my toon.

So anyone else out there planning to change roles radically for Cataclysm or are you going to stick with the role you know for your main?


Sunday, 19 September 2010

Subjective time and WOW

A while ago I heard a report on the radio about a study into the human perception of time. The crux of the research was that every human essentially manipulates their personal perception of time through their lives.
If you think about it you can probably recall times when this has happened those moments of danger when time slows to a crawl and seconds stretch into minutes or when you were young and the summer holidays seemed to last for years rather than weeks.
One of the depressing things the research bough up was as you get older your perception of the passing of time speeds up dramatically. As I approach my 40th year this is definitely noticeable, weekends seem gone in a blink of an eye and the weeks seem to fly by with not enough time to fit everything in which always seemed so easy in my 20s.
This got me to thinking that WOW is a real demonstration of this phenomena in action. I have seen my perception of time slow in game and speed up over and over again.

For time seeming to crawl one of my most vivid memories of this was not surprisingly in a raid in fact in my first raid experience in Kara. I joined my old guild almost as they were starting Kara and after a bit of rejigging ended up as one of the healers and for some reason a raid leader.
We made good progress through Kara despite the fact our healing team was 2 holy pallys and a priest.

Then we hit Shade of Aran and oh my god what a block he was we must have wiped on him for weeks despite all the tactics with banishment of elementals and people not moving during the fire phase it was a nightmare. In fact it was a real moral sapper for the whole team especially as there was no raid ID extension in those days so if you didn't do it in the two raid days we had we had to start all over again!
Then finally one night after multiple wipes just as raid time was almost up it all came together and he was going down the % ticked down 3,2,1 then time seemed to stop 1%, 1%, 1% die you undead bastard die! A healer goes down then a DPS, mana looking low no no no not on 1% then time restarts and he crumples victory! A cheers rings out over vent and time restarts it ambling path again at a sensible rate.

For time dragging I guess at the moment is a good time in WOW to say time is extending horribly for me. I have achieved what I want in Wrath, Arthas lies dead and his citidel in ruins, Cataclysm is looming with new patches heralding a new dawn but its still looking like two months to go which I think is going to seem like an age.

For others time at the moment time in WOW may seem to be racing by, will the next patch with its changes for the classes not gel with current raid mechanics denying them that final kill, will they get their tiger from ZG before it goes the way of the Dodo?

What about you? Can you recall those times in WOW when time seemed to stretch on forever and the tick between seconds seemed like eternity or and afternoon passed in a blink of an eye playing with friends. Welcome to the Blizzards time machine but your not at the controls!


Thursday, 16 September 2010

I really should stop reading stuff sometimes

I have (basically because I haven't been able to help myself) been reading a bit on the blogsphere about the upcoming changes to resto druids in Cata.
Am I the only one who is getting a bit worried about them at the moment? I know I know its beta and nothing is set in stone (TM) but at the moment from reading up druids seem to be horribly behind other healers with regards to their usefulness with the current mastery's in raids.
Matticus has a good initial rundown on healing classes and how they are shaping up in Cata here

Some of the comments from him and also in the great breakdown of mastery for resto druids by Lissanna over at Restokin

make me a bit nervous about the possible state of druid healing going into Cataclysm.

When we went into Wrath from my point of view no healing class really was at the bottom of the heap by a long way when it came to healing. We all had our niches in raids which allowed all classes to be wanted.
It does appear with the current state of druid healing at 85+ level that we are really suffering from Blizzards attempts to homogenise to an extent all healers so each class can capably do a bit of everything. While this is a laudable goal to prevent issues in 10 man raids due to guild make ups. I hope that all the feedback from those in the beta on druids make us viable healers for raids straight off the bat in Cataclysm as I really don't want to switch mains if I end up healing in Cataclysm to be effective till Blizzard gets it sorted out.

I know I am worrying probably over nothing but there is the smell in the air of release dates being put forward and there is activity on the test realms.


Saturday, 4 September 2010

You think you know it all......

As I posted recently my wife has got back on the WOW bandwagon and is thundering through content with her hunter and fuzzy bear know as Thread (still love that).

Now back in BC when I was looking at changing mains away from my pally as a healer to my druid and I wanted a DPS toon to farm for me so I ran a hunter up to level 68 and really got a feel for the class ( at this point I lost interest in the project then respecced my pally as dps). Hence I thought I knew a fair bit about hunters to help my beloved out with her toon.


Due to my concentrating on my druid/ pally for Wrath and raiding my ass off I got a rather rude awakening that I don't have a bloody clue about hunters anymore.

Case in point my wife asked me about training her pet. No problem I think I remember this you learn the skills from the pet trainer and train your pet in the skills you want. So I proceed in a confident tone of voice to explain all this to her only to be stopped in my tracks by the comment "but the pet trainer doesn't teach anything".

I wander over and damn me she is right nothing now I am stumped and with rather less confidence fire up wowhead and do some digging for a bit. After a while I come across "pet Talents". Stop the press where the hell did those come from? Apparently hunters changed a lot more with Wrath than I thought, so tail between my legs I explain how pets now have talents apparently and off she trundles again with a parting shot "I thought you said you had played a hunter?"

God help me when Cataclysm launches at this rate if I don't keep my pally up to date all I will know about is Druids!

One advantage of my wife now getting in to WOW I have a great idea for a small anniversary gift for her. I think her hunter will look great on a celestial steed done you?


Saturday, 28 August 2010

Which is the best way for someone to start in WOW

So after a year away from WOW my wife decided she wanted to play a game again that was a role playing game that had a bit of depth to it.
So after a lot of head scratching about login names and passwords we finally got her old account reactivated and she set off back into Azeroth with a new character.

Last time she tried out WOW we leveled together and to be honest it didn't work out that well. Being grouped together diluted our experience so we ran into level issues on quests rather rapidly. Also with me being an officer in my old guild I made the mistake of joining the guild with my leveling toon so hence got distracted by guild chat a lot. Over all her interest wained and the account was shut down when she got stalled at about level 12.
This time around we tried a different tact she chose her toon (a Draenei as I think they and the belfs have the more interesting starting zones for beginners being later additions to WOW) and set off in Azeroth. I basically pootled along on my main toon just be be around to give help when needed if she got stuck on anything.
Well it worked a lot better this time round her hunter is now level 16 after only 3 days and she is looking forward with anticipation to getting her first mount having carved a swath through the Draenei with her faithful bear.

This got me thinking for the lower levels of WOW is it really more beneficial to level up alone with advice on hand rather than leveling with someone who knows the game well? I think in our case with me being about all the time previously it took away that "shiny new feel" you get when you first step into the WOW universe. Also WOW does seem to be geared towards solo play at the lower levels to get a feel for the game.
Has anyone had better experiences of leveling together such as Recruit a Friend or have you found like me that the group part of the game really takes off when you have learned your toon by solo play and get into raids and guilds at a higher level?

I hope my wife does get her hunter a long way thins time as I am looking forwards to her experiencing raids and dungeons with the guild. Fingers crossed this time she will have a more fun experience making her own way in WOW rather than having hard bitten me in the background all the time.


Thursday, 26 August 2010

Finally Got there!

So apart from changing the layout to something a bit more interesting you may have noticed the picture in the title has changed.

Yes after summer did it worst with people moving house, the world cup, holidays and PC breakdowns Kingdom of Rust finally did Glory of the Icecrown Raider. So we now have all spiffy bony dragons to ride about on (note this doesn't apply to me much as flight form is just awesome).

A big hats of to the guild for all the hard work they put in on this and especially to Nightmare and Faster who skillfully lead us to essentially finish the expansion in terms of raiding. We are going to have a go at LK 10 heroic but getting glory was really our goal to complete before Cataclysm hits. Not bad for a 13 person guild who only raids two nights a week.

The final real hurdle was heroic Sindy and for me it was a nice boss to finish on as it really made the healing team step up to the plate. As always the three musketeers of the healing team pulled together and kept everyone alive to see Sindy bite the dust.

I must admit this has been one of the joys of Wrath for me since we formed Kingdom of Rust to be part of a really tight healing team. It has got to the stage where during fights we know know who is doing what almost automatically with the minimum of discussion its like a well oiled machine springing into action.
A lot of us in the guild have yet to put down a marker on what role they will play in Cataclysm and I am sure there will be some people who want a change of pace from what they were doing in Wrath. But I do know that Kingdom of Rust really pushed on due to a solid regular raid structure and a solid healing team who knew what each other were capable of.

I don't know what I will be doing yet in Cataclysm I am tempted to try tanking as a main role as I have written before. But I must admit the temptation to carry on healing is great as I still love to have the ability to save someone from the jaws of certain death. Also for me healing on my druid is very strategic with lots of forward planning which I like as a game style.
Maybe its the temptation to stay with something I know that is safe and that I can do well I don't know but hey I still have I estimate till November to decide.




Sunday, 8 August 2010

New PC "cheer"

So I lasted a month!

Yes the lappy was too painful to play WOW on while raiding and we are going to have another crack at heroic Sindy soon so I cracked and took the overtime at work (weekends are for wimps!) to buy a new rig.

This week those nice people at overclockers delivered me a new budget gaming PC.

- Case: Coolermaster Elite 335 Case - Black
- Power Supply: OCZ 500w II StealthXStream
- CPU: AMD Athlon II X2 Dual Core 245 2.90GHz (Socket AM3)
- Motherboard: Gigabyte GA-MA78LMT-US2H AMD 760G (Socket AM3) DDR3 Motherboard
- RAM: OCZ Gold Low Voltage 4GB (2x2GB) DDR3 PC3-10666C9 1333MHz Dual Channel
- Hard Drive: Seagate 500GB SATA-II 16MB Cache
- Graphics Card: XFX ATI Radeon HD 4850 512MB GDDR3
- Sound: ALC888B 8-channel High Definition Audio CODEC
- Optical Drive: LG GH22NS50 22x DVD±RW SATA ReWriter

After a few issues with installing an OS its runs like a dream and it is nice to see WOW running at max detail rather than everything at low. I know a lot of people out there have a great time and do well on low detail settings but for me it basically sucked the enjoyment out of the game after running on a decent system. Running at 10fps in Dalaran/ 15 FPS on raids was not fun and I think would have put me at a disadvantage during Sindy.

One odd thing I encountered though in WOW was running at ultra detail the game caused a critical space error in WOW. Now after updates on Vista had finished and I tweaked the details down a bit it appears to be ok but after a bit of reading on the tech forums it appears poor old WOW has issues with high end system basically overloading the memory allocation from what I can read (caveat I am not a programmer so don't have much of an idea on this so just want the game to work reasonably well). If anyone has a bent that way a detailed explanation can be found here on the O boards

It was vaguely reassuring to me that my lowish end gaming system was blowing WOW out of the water at high detail levels. Glad its now behaving itself though as I bought the new machine to play WOW on and get set for Cataclysm/ The Old Republic it would have been a pain if it didn't work well on the game it was bough to run.


Oh and PS when you install Vista on a new PC and the LAN doesnt work it help to actually install the MotherBoard Drivers for the LAN as then it may work!

Thursday, 22 July 2010

A curse on all IT Killjoys

Well it finally happened at work, rather than just having a one hour restriction on a lot of the stuff you can surf on the web such as facebook, the warcraft forum, Ala etc per day they blocked anything associated with games totally. This also includes any WOW related blogs, articles,fluffy kittens and pictures.
Not that I got much time to surf the web during lunch recently as I am kind of forgetting what lunch is (I think its that time when people don't phone me as they are having lunch). But on the odd days where I got ten minutes to have a roll or packet of crisps it was nice to see what was happening in the WOW blogging community.

So for those of you who follow my blog expect to see less frequent updates (unless I remember to take Larisa's advice and do them in word and then upload them at home) and I will miss all the blogs I follow on a regular basis. Also now missing my chance to comment on some of the interesting topics.

We live in an IT age where the web is supposed to be an integral part of daily life but it seems not in my corner of it where we seem to be heading for less access to the web than my six year old gets at school.

On a different note I am finding the cata talent trees for druid to be underwhelming to say the least. Am I the only one who thinks needing dual spec if you are going to be Feral tank/ Feral DPS is being made redundant as you can virtually max out the tree to do both as it stands at the moment?
I am sure there will be a theory crafted ideal kitty / bear spec that are subtly different but the massive gap there is now has been eroded a lot.


Saturday, 10 July 2010

Gaming Rig Dead and how I killed heroic professor on my lappy

So last week was the week from hell. I had high hopes for July after the rough June I had, but after a quick air dust of the inside my main gaming rig strange things started happening.
First I had a Blue Screen of Death, no issue I thought and reset the machine. This resulted in basically the whole system not posting and then after me prodding various things to see if they were tight and nothing had come loose it posted and booted up windows/ ran well for several hours.
After shutting down and doing something else (gardening) the system would again not post and this degenerated into a spiral of me pulling various components to see what the issue was and I basically got nowhere apart from narrowing it down to the motherboard, CPU or PSU none of which I have spares for to test. So as the rig is 5+ years old and consulting various people who know a lot more than me I am now saving for a new PC as the cost of trying various components is probably not worth it. The down side of this is for the rig I want (middle of the road machine) I think September is the earliest I can get it.

Enter Zetter laptop raider! Yep I do have a plan B which is my Asus lappy with at least a Gforce video card in it. All I can say is thank god Cata isnt out yet as if they boost the graphics any more I think my lappy wouldnt cope. For all you out there raiding on old machines at low detail levels with no effects tuned on to keep the frame rates up my hat is well and truely tipped.
For me I can only think its similar to going from driving an Audi TT to a 15 year old Nissan Micra they both do the same job sort of but you do notice the difference.

Still even squinting at a smaller screen and the fire on the floor being shall we say not so sharp Kingdom of Rust finally managed to get a raid team together to down heroic Professor Putricide. I can say personally for me it was not easy a lot of my oh so nice add ons crowded the screen making it harder to have good raid awareness but I am proud to say I think I only caused a couple of wipes but dieing at inappropriate moments.
We got him to a couple of 1% tries (one of which was 50K left when a tank bit the big one) so we scented blood and with 30 mins to go on the raid we were standing over Professors corpse. I think we would have done this at least a month ago but as I posted previously summer has really taken its toll on us being a small guild with a few people signing off for the summer to return for Cata.
So all that really stands between us and our drakes is the spectre of Sindy. Hopefully we can do this before the buff kicks up to 30%.

On a separate subject I see that Blizz has binned real ID for the forums, its a pity it caused so many casualties along the way. I did miss a lot of the forum furore due to work commitments but it looked like the equivalent of dropping a tactical nuke on the whole blogging community for the repercussion it is having. Hopefully Blizz backing down will convince people that that do still have a voice against the Juggernaut that Blizz has become.


Thursday, 1 July 2010

Fun with the ICC buff (or how my raid leader is a bad bad man)

So as I described before we are a bit hit and miss on raiding at the moment due to summer and being a 10 man small guild we cant really drop back to anything lower in terms of numbers as we are sort of heroiced to death.
Monday was a bit of a classic example really. I was hopeing we could have a crack at Heroic Professor but numbers were against us so we chatted up an old guildy and did some of the early ICC 10 heroics. This required us to 2 heal most of it but the new buff made this a bit less stress than it used to be (well except on Lord Marrow who throws out damage like confetti) but overall we were doing well and the lower spire went down quite quickly.

Then disaster! Boom our Boomkin vanished in a puff of electrons and didn't reappear. I though hmm well early night tonight lad but then our raid leader chips in with "lets see how we go 9 manning it". I was thinking this wasn't the best place to try it as we were now on Plague wing/ Blood Queen Halls with all the merry damage involved in it and two healing it wouldn't be offset by the bonus of stuff dieing faster as we had lost one of our heavy dps.

But you know what we managed to do Festergut, Rotface and Blood Queen on heroic while 9 manning it AND we didn't even have heroism. I healed my damn ass off keeping everyone alive especially during Blood Queen which we usually 3 heal due to the raid damage. I really had a blast and was pushed very hard to perform and keep the raid/ tanks alive on some of these bosses. I am surprised by how much of a difference the extra 5% made on the run as I don't think we could have 9 manned what we did without it.
I hope if we can get a solid group together next week we can finally finish our last two major kills needed and get our drakes which would put a nice cherry on the Wrath experience.


Sunday, 13 June 2010

Is your Dragon Age Party similar to your average PUG in WOW

I am like a lot of people on a bit of a wind down from WOW at the moment. As I said in my previous post work is mental at the moment so I cant commit to a lot of time on line playing WOW.

Also I am a bit burnt out with the WOW experience, I am still keen on raiding the ICC hard modes but I have a lot of the gear I want for my druid and really don't have the energy to run my 80 pally through PUG raids.
I do have a level 8 lock in full heirloom gear but I am really tempted to save him for having some fun in Catacylsm when he will ideal to experience all the new content.

So to pass the time I have been playing my way in fits and starts through Dragon Age Origins. This is a typical Bioware game with a great story arc and you can play the usual selection of classes such as mage, warrior etc in a D&D type setting.
However unlike quite a few recent games by Bioware you don't just control the lead character in the party you can jump into any of the other party members and control them directly as well. While you are controlling any single character the AI controls the rest of the team and its behaviour can be modified to an extent by setting priorities for the party member. Such as if you have an archer companion you can set that person to attack from range and then switch to melee if an enemy closes with them.
Party makeup is mostly typical D&D with you having a tank, rogue, damage dealers and possibly a healer (though you can rely on health pots).

While playing through the other day I noticed how the AI behaves similar to your average PUG member. The ranged damage dealer (archer though would be a hunter in WOW) constantly over aggroed and got killed, The tank couldn't hold threat, The healer ran out of mana while trying to DPS and then stood in fire like a lemon, the melee dps decided the selected target wasn't the one he wanted to kill and ran off across the room to attack something out of range of the healer.
Of course you can pause the action and jump into control of the companion concerned allowing you to get them back on track but it is a real pain.
I actually found myself shouting at the screen something like "FFS DONT PULL AGGRO YOUR GOING TO DIE!"

To think I was actually playing this game as a break from WOW.
It also lead me to wonder that to keep party numbers high are Blizz actually having toons run by the AI? After all you could just put in a macro to spam some comments like "Go Go Go", "FFS Noob" and "lol you suck" every so often and would anyone notice the difference?


Tuesday, 8 June 2010

Real Life/ Summer Crits Zetter for 50K

Sorry I haven't been posting a lot here recently. This is mainly due to the fact I have not been playing WOW a lot or actually been in front of the PC to actually write anything when I have a spare moment.
Basically for June I have been seconded to one of our bigger clients to help them out while one of their staff is off sick. This also while trying to keep my department running remotely via my super admin who is staying on site.
Due to the fact I actually want to see my family during the week I have opted to drive it and bang the mileage up on the car. This is leading to 12 ish hour days with the commute so I don't get a lot of time to do other stuff except sleep/ wind down a bit hence the blogging has taken a bit of a battering.

However we are suffering from a double whammy in KOR this month as Summer has arrived. This has lead as in many guilds to people doing stuff outdoors that doesn't involve raiding or playing the PC. As we are a small guild this has lead so far to two raids being binned totally and counting.
I am a bit in two minds about this at the moment as I think are a few of the guild. On the one hand we killed the Lich King and have finished every raid in the expansion including Ulduar and TOC on hard mode which was a major accomplishment for us considering how late we started. So I am in a way satisfied that I have got the full experience out of the expansion and the raids in it.

However there is that little itch that I would like to scratch before the curtain falls on Wrath and that is A DRAKE! We are currently 2 bosses away from that achievement admittedly two rat bastard hard ones on heroic (Professor and Sindy) but I think we can do it with a few trys and I think they I would truly be able to put wrath to bed so to speak ready for Cataclysm. Fingers crossed we can get a few raids going to do this last bit.


Friday, 28 May 2010

The ups and downs of summer (or how I fail as a fighter pilot)

So as is probably happening in other guilds people are taking advantage of the good weather and playing football, going fishing or having nights out. Hence our raiding being a small guild is taking a bit of a hit.
We have been lucky with some in game friends of some of our members pitching in and helping us out. But this has resulted in some reassigning of roles on certain fights.

One of these is heroic dreamwalker or "the healer" fight. Now during this with our normal group makeup as the raid healing specialist I am left outside to keep everyone up while our pally tank (masquerading as a healer for this one) and shammy healer do the bomb healing of dreamwalker. This suits me down to the ground as I am used to healing loads of raid damage and keeping an eye on loads of people at once.

But as our Shammy was off for a couple of raids I got volunteered to go into the dream portals with our pally. I rapidly learned that A) The perspective on the cloud thing's is all off and B) It confirms why I suck at Malygos 3rd phase C) God knows how I did so well at all those flight simulators when I was younger as I appear to have no spacial awareness.
I didn't gain stacks at a decent rate, I lost stacks at bad moments, we wiped at 95% healed (best try of 5) and as it was getting late called it there for the night.

Thank the lord our Shammy is back on Monday and I can do back to keeping the raid outside alive. I am a bit hacked of at myself for being so crap but hey at least we killed blood princes on heroic with a one shot thanks to the 20% buff rather than going through our usual 5 or so wipes due to orbs, pulling adds from upstairs ect.


Wednesday, 19 May 2010

Should Gnomes be more angry?

While I was walking the dog the other day I was pondering what to write about as mostly it has been raid stuff and to be honest we have done ICC so its just really rambling about getting stomped on by Sindy in heroic for a few weeks.

Then it hit me Gnomes!

I mean Gnomes they are a bit like the Marmite of WOW you either love em or you hate em. I get the feeling the goblins will end up the same way in Cata.
Personally I love em, some of the funniest encounters I have had in WOW have been due to Gnomes including the time that one of our Gnomes couldnt finish the Ogrilla quest line because he couldnt reach the portal due to being too small. Also while raiding in BC the raid were doomed to failure if our favourite Gnome lock didn't die on trash (we went to great length to ensure this happened including use of misdirects by one of our hunters). One of my favourite bloggers plays a gnome and who could hate the race that make engineering devices that are more likely to kill you than what you are using them on!

But I feel that gnomes on a whole should feel angry on how things have panned out for them in WOW. In the run up to Catacylsm it appears that we finally get to retake Gnomeregan to give the Gnomes back their homeland. I am sure this will be a great run up to the start of Cataclysm if its like the old zombie invasion and will keep everyone occupied for a bit.
However if I was a Gnome I would be pissed that is has taken this long! I mean alright it would take a bit of time to get organised to take it back but seriously two expansions???

I mean things get a bit quieter after Vanilla so what do the Alliance do liberate Gnomer? Nope they bugger off through the dark portal and sort out the Draenai's problems even though they only ditched their star ship at the start of the expansion. Fair enough I guess the Burning Legion are a bit of an issue but Illidan got sorted out and then its time for the Alliance to sort out Gnomer surely?
Nope then its off to Northrend to deal with the Lich King as well as Yogg ect. If I was a Gnome I would put in a complaint to the Alliance or see if Thrall and the Horde are more helpful. Some Gnome leaders should go up to King Wrynn and have a word, I mean for gods sake the community have already sent a commando raid into the place while leveling and killed the boss in there so how hard is it for the Alliance to get their finger out and mop up a few Troggs?

Damn maybe I should have rolled a Gnome in the first place? Pity they cant be Druids.


Thursday, 13 May 2010

Flasks Check! Reagents Check! Fully Repaired Check! Shammy in the raid?

So after Monday where we got some of the people their Lich King kill who missed the first one it was back to hard modes in ICC to get set for an all out out assault on the good Professor in heroic mode.
However both our resident Shaman couldn't make the raid so we put together a group with our boomkin covering healing duties and set about the hard modes. It went quite well with an offspec healer we got 3 out of the lower spire down and did Rotface/ Festergut.
But the lack of heroism in the raid really showed. We couldn't quite get over the hump that was Sarfang falling short by a few % and also bloody queens enrage proved a bit too tight without it as well.
I am looking forward to mages getting timewarp in Cataclysm as at the moment for a strict 10 man guild Herosim/ Bloodlust is something that seems really difficult to live without. It really gives you that extra edge on tight fights like Blood Queen and Sarfang and being without kind of hobbles the raid.

I don't know if any other strict 10 man types run without a shammy on heroics but I would be interested to hear how you view their necessity/ lack of to really pushing into hard modes in ICC 10. For us they have been the extra oomph that has got us past some of the harder fights mentioned above and I think without that magic buff we would have a bit more gearing to do to get the likes of Bloodqueen down.


Thursday, 6 May 2010

Will cataclysm be a lot more boring for healers?

Reading some the thoughts from Blizz behind Cataclysm it seems that in raids a lot of the limiting factor on fight length will be healer mana as we wont be getting the regeneration we have enjoyed in Wrath (though this has been a bit over the top for most fights if you had replenishment).
This will be coupled with more regular damage to the tanks and raid to be healed through. But they will be removing the spike damage we have seen in wrath where if you are not bomb healing a target at certain points a tank can get almost 2 shotted.
I just wonder if this will make healing less of a challenge for Cataclysm where you will be worried about mana conservation above all and how you eak every last drop out of you toon while the tank take a monotonous pounding. Overhealing will become a big issue again with people watching it like a hawk.
I am asking myself if I will enjoy this way of doing things if it heads this way (though as you know I am tempted to reroll tank for Cata). I am a healing child of the Burning Crusade/ Wrath where overheal was only an issue if you regularly ran out of mana and you like on a knife edge of high raid and tank damage in a lot of fights. While it can be a bit stressful I wonder if the watching my mana bar and being a dispelling monkey route will be as fun?


Thursday, 29 April 2010

Sarfang Heroic Down!

So last night on the last gasp we finally got Sarfang down on Heroic 10 man in ICC. The extra 5% buff helped us out as it was a close run thing and was preceded by 2+ hours of solid wiping on the bugger.

Now our problem on this being a strict 10 man guild is there are in total on the raid team 13 people. Three of those are healer Me the tree of Awesomeness, our Disco priest who is usually our tank healer and our resto Shammy who heals his ass off and doubles as hard core dps. All the other team are tanks or dps with various offspecs.

Can you spot the missing puzzle piece in this kids? Yep we don’t have a holy pally (well we do but its one of the tanks offspec….) and for this fight it really really helps to have a bomb healing holy pally that can heal two people at once with Bacon.
The reason for this is that Mark of the Fallen Champion is unavoidable and you will get at least two before he is dead. Also it hits like truck if you take your eye off the person with it they are going to die this also get worse if they have boiling blood on them as they are then taking additional damage. If the marked person dies its game over as Sarfang will heal and the enrage will hit.

So to tackle this we had to run with two healers to meet the DPS requirements. Our Resto Shammy went Enhancement leaving our Disco priest and yours truly to heal the fight. As our Disco priest isn’t ideally suited for raid healing he took the tank and I got the raid along with whoever got the mark.

Talk about having to use all you talents to get through this healing the marked person is basically like healing a tank with a crap health pool who is taking about 50% of their health damage ever 2 seconds. I was running 3x stack lifebloom, Rejuve, Regrowth while throwing in Swiftmend and Nourish when I needed it. I was also dropping Rejuve on raid members who got boiling blood in any gaps I could find. Even then it was still too much when two marks hit as I found if the marked person got a boiling blood as well the damage was overwhelming and I couldn’t keep up on two targets.

After some review a nefarious plan was hatched. Basically once the second mark hit our tanking pally as soon as he didn’t have agro from the boss popped a Divine Intervention on the Melee that was Marked. This essentially took the mark out of the fight for Three Minutes and left only one mark + the raid for me to heal.
Obviously this also killed the tank but a quick battle Rez from yours truly (in between everything else J) got him back into the fray ready to taunt off the surviving tank at the correct time.
Last try of the night and it went to the wire! The fist mark landed on our dps warrior, which was good as its physical damage and he’s got lots of health/ armour so healing him was a bit easier. The second mark hit our rogue so he got a DI from our pally tank who I promptly battle rezzed.
Then we were into end game with the last 10% and one dps out of the fight. Mana was running low and a 3% a third mark appeared I was healing like a madman running blooms on both marks along with every other healing spell I could squeeze into a GCD. The last 1% went on for an eternity with me watching about fifty different things at once then he finally dropped and we completed the Storming The Citadel Achievement on heroic!

Also while all this healing and tanking shenanigans was going on our esteemed ranged DPS team were killing off blood beasts who in heroic can really move and also cant be allowed to hit anyone.

Overall it was the sweetest kills I have had for ages against the odd and using every trick and talent in the book with the team we had to get the kill in. I have never healed so intensely in my life and it showed to me how 10 mans can really push you use your toon to the maximum with all the talents they have to get a boss down especially as druids are normally raid healers and don’t have all the OMFG bomb heals and damage mitigation buttons that classes such as pallys have.


Tuesday, 27 April 2010

No disparity in Raiding anymore

So Blizzard have done what to be honest I thought they would never do and put 10 man and 25 man raiding on an equal par for Cataclysm.

I never saw this coming as all through Wrath Blizz have put 25 mans on a higher pedestal i.e. you want Shadowmourn get in there and do 25s or you can whistle. The only thing I would have thought Blizz may have done was share the raid lockouts so you cant do 25 man then do 10 man on off days. This would give strict 10 man guilds a chance on server firsts as the 25 mans guilds would be unlikely to burn early raid time lockouts doing 10 mans.

However it looks like they have gone the whole hog with 10s and 25 mans sharing loot table and lockouts. The only advantage in 25 mans now is better droprate on stuff and the chance if you have a bigger guild to all raid together rather than in separate teams.

I checked out a lot of the blogs I read Such as Pink Pigtail Inn, Big Bear Butt and a few others who tend to be good barometers of the community.
Opinion seems to be split as you would expect. Some people being worried that 25 mans wont be worth the hassle now especially with the logistical difficulties of getting 25 people together at a time. While others see this as a chance for 10 man content to be taken seriously and 10 man only guilds to have a shot if they want it at server firsts and cutting edge progressions which has previously been the domain of the high end 25 man guilds on the servers who can come in with better gear straight away.
I have not really had time today to check out the official boards but my guess is there is so much QQ going on as there is for most changes that Noah better build another Ark.

My personal view is that I am all for this! As I have stated before the thing I didn't like about 25 man raiding when I was organising it was the huge amount of pissing about I had to do just to get the signup sorted and people in the right groups etc etc etc. Yes this was in BC where you had to worry about shammy buffs only being group wide etc but most of the difficulty wasn't in the actual raid it was in making sure everyone knew what they were doing before we started.

Compare this with Wrath and my strict 10 man guild and we are busting some moves in heroic ICC already and are making great progress at only two nights a week we have a tight team who plays together all the time and are moving in the same direction i.e. there is no dross who you have to take to make up the numbers. Also as a druid healer I don't just get to cast rejuvenation and wild growth all day on the raid I can find myself tank healing on Blood Prince Council or a bit of both on Lady Deathwisper.

How will this change the landscape of 25 mans I don't know. But I suspect there will be a lot more 10 man guilds in Cataclysm or guilds that run two 10 man teams. I think it will have a big impact as a lot of people do raid for gear and to "keep up with the Joneses" so if the incentive of gear is gone some guilds will fall or "downsize". One thing I will say for Blizz is they have no fear of throwing a Nuclear hand grenade into the game now and again.


Wednesday, 21 April 2010

Random Phone Call

I know this is a bit off the WOW topic but I just thought I would relay it as it was the first time I had come across it and to be honest it could have caught my wife out.
Due to changing our telephone and issues we are having with it we have taken to leaving the answerphone off and picking up on most calls now. This has inevitably lead to discussions with various individuals regarding the joys of double glazing and swapping all our utilities again.

However the other day my wife mentioned she had been phoned by Microsoft of all people to explain there was a security risk on her copy of windows that they had detected during her Internet use! Fortunately she was busy with other stuff and didn't have time to speak with the person or thank god do anything on the PC they recommend.
This was followed the other day by some kind gentleman phoning from somewhere who claimed to represent an "Internet security firm". He was unlucky as he got me this time and when he launched into his spiel I informed his that I was puzzled regarding my windows security breach as I had a Mac. This immediately floored him as my god who the hell owns a Mac? All his carefully crafted keylogger were of no use as no one hack Macs! So he mumbled something and then hung up.

But I just though it was worth throwing out there for you if you know any PC using people who are not that clued up that the keylogging/ hacking brigade have moved off of dodgy websites and are now phoning people to get them to click on links directly under the guise of "security". Its a clever way of getting people to put a Trojan on their system or possibly give someone remote access to their PC for a while so they can have a rifle through possibly all you bank details.

Of course if any Microsoft Employees want to correct me that they do personally phone their customers and monitor their copies of Windows XP for security breaches on the internet I will take it all back :).


Sunday, 18 April 2010

Celestial Steed

There has been a lot of posting on the new buyable mount on various blogs so I am not going to say much about it to fear repeating what has been said already.
However I am not overly shocked as recently I have started playing on the wife's Xbox 360 I got her as a present. Its pretty obvious from this the way games are going i.e. you buy the core game which is totally playable but then if you want to delve further its micro transactions all the way to get those "extra" little bits like new companions etc. So it isn't a surprise that this business model is translating to the MMORPG games as well as people will always pay for extra "fluff".

My main point on the steed is the look of it. Am I the only one who thinks its looks a bit like the child's toy My little Pony?
I mean my eight year old is quite into my little pony and the Celestial steed wouldn't look at all out of place in a stable with them. It would probably be called Stardancer or Moonrider or something. It does kind of amuse me when you see this big Orc or Human warrior with a sword the size of steel I beam sitting on something that looks like it should be in a child's cartoon series.

I mean you can see it now Thrall calls out for his finest warriors to tackle the Scourge threat. Up ride Tharg on his lizard that he tamed against all odds to prove his warrior status, then comes Gnar on his protodrake he took from the dying hand of its former owner in Ulduar after defeating the death god threat, finally Tuuurg arrives a veteran of many battles on what looks like his baby sisters pony club ride. Lets be honest Tuuurg is going to to either have the piss ripped out of him the whole campaign or pray to god some scourge abomination rips his head off and eats him before he is forced to do the job himself to avoid the wisecracks from Gnar and Tharg.


Friday, 9 April 2010

The pressure is off a bit now

Well after our Lich King kill the other week I got chatting to our raid leader about various stuff and mentioned that I felt a bit more chilled out about raiding going forward.

For me the Lich King was the big target to complete the lore the and finish the long trek I started when I first ran into the Scourge waaaay back in Vanilla. So now I feel I can settle back a bit and enjoy trying the hard modes in ICC and we can finish off some stuff we missed back in Naxx as well. The pressure just is not there that there was for that Lich King kill and I figure we probably have several months to work on our drakes from Glory of the Icecrown Raider.
It is a nice position to be in as since we formed Kindom of Rust we have been essentially playing catchup on things like Ulduar and TOC due to us really starting to focus raid so late in the game. Now we have a bit of luxury to take our time on Hard Mode ICC and also pick off those niggling achievements we missed.

On that topic I finally got my Undying title on Monday. After all the heartbreaking almost successes back when Ulduar was new we had really given up on this as other things took over raid time. But finally after 9 manning most of the instance we stood over the corpse of KT without anyone having died.
This despite our favourite Warlock nearly killing us on Four Horsemen when his Imp decided to take a shot at one of them while we were moving into position. I think our raid leader would have actually boarded a plane and flown to his house to kill him if we had screwed undying up again!

I wonder if any other guilds are in this position now with regards to end game? Have you finished ICC 10 or 25 and are regarding hard modes as something "nice to do" but not with the same drive you had for killing the Lich King?
Maybe you have the objective to get one of your guildies Shadowmourne or finish off No Lights in the Darkness while you can still get Mimerons head?
I know for me finishing ICC on normal is a real milestone in the game and sort of sets me up to look onwards to the challenges in Cataclysm I am now starting to think what career my druid will head into in Cataclysm will he stay healer or go tank maybe even try DPS as a full time main spec. Where as before I was all fired up to finish all the raid content and didn't really want to think about Cataclysm now I find myself really looking forward to it with anticipation.


P.S Deathbringer on heroic is a real git and totally kicked our asses so a lot of work to do there before we down him!

Friday, 2 April 2010


Well we finally did it the Lich King is down on 10 man normal. I am immensely satisfied with this on a personal level as this is the first time in WOW I have downed all raid content (yep I know I still have to do 25 mans but its the same fight in essence as ICC 10 man hard modes are the same with a bit of a twist).
I was born to borrow a phrase from the Causal Raid Leader Blog a BC Babe having started WOW approx 3 months before BC hit. So I didn't really get chance to do much end game stuff in Vanilla.
During BC I got to Mount Hyjal but never far into it and never saw black temple which I always regretted a bit (I was stopped mainly by burnout while raid leading 25 mans).
But now except hard mode ICC I have done it all and what a great story arc it has been by Blizzard.
First we crushed Naxx while taking a side trip to throw a spanner in the works of Malygos. After this an old god needed putting down and a Titan himself needed showing that Azeroth wasn't to be reformatted. we made a quick trip for some reason to pump up our skills in front of the various leaders in a Coliseum. Then it was onto the main event to take down the man who caused so much damage to Azeroth.
The final fight was great and to the person who invented the defile spell a big congratulations for providing the ultimate fire/ void zone no excuses for standing in this one as you don't just kill yourself it wipes the raid. I wont say anymore about the fight for those who want to see it fresh but it did test my small group hard.
I have always liked the scourge angle of WOW it was a very powerful piece of lore and probably my favourite of all the lore in WOW a part of me feels a bit sorry Arthas is dead as he was great protagonist who could not only kill people but raise them to fight against their own friends.
Roll on Cataclysm Blizzard I am looking forward to taking a gnome lock through your new starting areas!


Saturday, 27 March 2010

Achievements are a double edged sword

Don't get me wrong I like achievements its a fun way to track your progress through the game and they can bring some fun rewards like titles and better mounts etc.
If course they have a downside with the "must link achievement" to do anything crowd. But overall I find them a fun insert into the game and they have encouraged me to do some things in game I probably would have missed just so I could get the achievement.

However as they are a per character thing rather than an account thing they are acting as a brake on something for me.
My druid is well set in the achievements stakes he has done a lot in raids and also completed a lot in Wrath/ BC he has also healed for most of it. For Cataclysm I fancy a change of scene however I really am going to have to just do another role with my druid be it DPS or Tank if I want to retain my achievement record it is going to HAVE to be on my druid as if I reroll on another toon all the achievements and mounts etc are out the window.
At least as a hybrid I have the option to change and as a druid I can change to any form of damage dealer/ tank. For someone such as one of my friends who plays a mage he is stuck as if he wants to go as a tank or healer for the majority of his play time (i.e. raids) in the bin goes the mage and you start afresh.

This got me thinking would it be a bad thing if the majority of achievements were account wide? I know this has been put about a lot on various forums with the main objections being the abuse of it in end game and certain server firsts.
The main objection I have seen is that you could get for example kingslayer on one toon and then rollup with a new toon you don't have a clue on and get invited off the back of it. However this is a bit of a moot point with dual spec anyway as I could link my Starcaller to get into a group as a tank when I have never tanked the fight but no one would know until I totally dropped the ball on the fight by not having a clue what I should do as a tank (my gear is actually good enough by a mile to tank Algy but this is from ICC drops while I have been healing it).

Server firsts could probably be excluded from account wide but to be honest this will affect 0.001% is of the wow population as to quote Highlander "there can only be one!" or well 25 for the raids :).

I doubt it will happen and for me it is only a slight niggle with the system. So I guess for Cataclysm I will be rerolling my druid as probably a tank (I already have a sort of agreement with one of the guild tanks as he fancies rolling healer) I may have to rename the blog at this point though what do you think to I DON'T THINK THE BEAR SWINGS THIS WAY?


Saturday, 20 March 2010

Friends Through WOW

I read Larisa's post a few days ago with interest on loneliness on her blog Yep I know it was a few days ago but my blogging at work has been seriously curtailed with ongoing issues involving budgeting errors and fantasies about assassinating one of our development managers who is the bane of my life at the moment. Although I think currently blowing him up could be a bad move in career progression.

This struck quite a chord with me as I don't make friends easily and tend to have a circle of a few close friends who I have known for quite a while. I am quite shy by nature and would be one of those people who at parties would end up parked next to the potted plant if I didn't know anyone there particularly well.
This should have made life in WOW a bit difficult for me as when I started I knew one person who I had actually met in real life in the whole game. If you believe a lot of the posts about WOW you would think I wouldn't have stood a chance as the whole community should be populated by elitist assholes or <16 year olds with delusion that they actually behave in a mature and adult manner. Yes I have run into some of these people but from guilds I have been in to blogs I have read the overall experiences I have had have been positive and the people friendly and helpful.

I started off knowing one person I have actually met in real life. After playing WOW I have now met at least 10 of the people I have played with having been out for drinks with then and visiting Sweden for a get together a couple of years ago. People have chipped in to keep others playing or allow them to do server transfers, others have sent computer bits to people they know in the guild to help them out. So for those who think WOW and by its extension the Internet can be an uncaring and hostile place there is another side to it where real friendships can be forged over the ether.
So thanks to all of the people from AT and KOR who have made this a fun experience for me despite some ups and downs it has been a really positive experience.


Friday, 12 March 2010

To prove that gear is serious business

So we are cracking on into ICC and we are basically having a few pops at Mr Litchy himself. Though Defile is proving to be a bit of sticking point at the moment.

Our team is quite tight as we only have 12 raiders in the guild at the moment. So this team has so far gone through all of Ulduar Hardmodes and most of ICC on 10 man. We rotate DPS regularly but have ensured that everyone gets a crack at hard content and get the rewards from it including Drakes and titles even if we have to do the hard stuff several times.
One of our top DPS is our beloved Elemental Shaman who was one our main tanks on his Pally through BC and switched to DPS for WOTLK. Generally he is high if not top of the meters and when in PUGs such as VOA he ranks high as well so he knows his class and how to use it.

He may be the worst speller in the whole of Aerie Peak, so much so that half the time we don't know what he is on about (and yes he is English) but he can put out big numbers.
On Monday we were once again clearing ICC and a nice spellpower DPS cape dropped. Our Shammy rolls on it and wins, he equips it and the below flashes up on our screen.

Yep he finally got his epic achievement I guess now he can get into those Naxx 10 PUGs on the Peak now.............

I always did love the request for link EPIC as if this made you a better player. I know this request has been mostly superseded by the infamous Gearscore but it still made me smile to think my friend who has done all of Ulduar hard modes on 10 man and nearly finished ICC could not have linked EPIC to get into some Naxx 10 PUG.


Sunday, 7 March 2010

You forget how much of your hard drive WOW takes up now

Well this weekend it finally happened that moment that all PC users dread my HDD went boom. I wasn't surprised as it had been a bit iffy for a while and I didn't lose anything important as I backup anything I cant afford to lose after a couple of painful experiences many years ago.

So I took this opportunity for a clean fresh install and an excuse to lose all that accumulated crap you tend to build up on the drive over a few years. I guess you all know what I mean (well unless you are one of those people with borderline OCD who takes everything off as soon as you have finished it) the old games that you keep in case an expansion comes along or that old app that may come in useful someday. Well its all gone from my system now and the rig is once again clean mean and ready to rumble.
This may also have something to do with me getting an Xbox360 in the family recently so I am planning to keep my PC rig for WOW and a few other apps.

After the usual obligatory putting windows, antivirus and connecting to the web it was time to put WOW back on. Now I admit I was lax and didn't backup the wow directory but I had all day to set it up while was doing other stuff.
What can I say OH MY GOD it takes ages I forgot that the vanilla disks and BC are on CD (remember those?) due to part of the world (and yep I am looking at you America) not getting on the DVD train that early. So that's about 8 cd swaps. Then comes the patching.... 12 hours later I am finally back on line.
I will back WOW up next time especially if the HDD is looking iffy god help me if this was the day before raid night I would be back on the lappy which is never fun for raiding.